Articles Posted in Social Networking

At this point, you’ve probably heard about LinkedIn, a professional social media website that serves in providing credibility, ways to acquire and give recommendations, opportunities to network, and get referrals.

LinkedIn wouldn’t be one of the “must-have” online social/professional profiles if it didn’t revamp its product and launch new strategies from time to time. The popular and useful professional site recently introduced a new social news product, LinkedIn Today. This product provides a convenient and helpful way for those with LinkedIn profiles to access top new stories and information not only within their own network but also from entire industries.
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If you have read our blog before, then you know we’re all for social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others. However, it’s important for attorneys and plaintiffs to remember that while these sites offer certain privacy settings, data can still be accessed for a personal injury or criminal defense case. Most attorneys understand the potential complications that information on these sites can pose during court proceedings, so this may not be news to you. Nevertheless, the common misconceptions that information on these sites is completely private, that your client is too old to use these sites, or doesn’t have a social profile are still prevalent.

Social networking sites are not only for teenagers and young adults. More and more adults are now tweeting and posting on their Facebook “wall.” With the evolution of the Internet, information can be shared in a matter of seconds, with a simple click, and through various written, audio, and video forms. Social networking sites make it easier for people to share what’s going on in their lives. But does your client know the potential consequences of sharing or posting information – even if they believe it to be “private” – about their lawsuit on these sites?
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If you’ve seen a movie lately or read the entertainment section of your local newspaper, you’re probably aware that “The Social Network” will soon be hitting theaters. Basically, the movie centers-around the dealings pertaining to the founding of Facebook. Although it is admittedly a dramatization of how the social networking company was actually created, it still represents Hollywood’s first foray into basing a movie on social networking. And it may not be the last, particularly since the rights to Ken Auletta’s “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” were recently acquired by two producers.

You may be asking what this has to do with law firms. Well, the Facebook and eventual Google films may not directly have much to do with the practice of law, but they do represent how mainstream social networking has become over the last few years. Who would have thought five years ago that Hollywood would be making a movie about a website started out for college students? Who would have thought that such a site would eventually eclipse over a million users, then ten million users, then well over one hundred million users? If anything, these films should represent how important social networking has become in our society. For law firms, social networks should represent a means of getting your expertise out to the masses, establishing yourself as an authority on a particular type of law, and indirectly influencing the users whom you interact with to spread your message to their friends, particularly those who may need legal advice.
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In a previous post, we talked about Facebook’s Social Graph, the collective group of connections that each user has with other users, and how those connections sync up across not only Facebook’s social portal, but third-party websites as well. It was speculated then, as it still is now, that Facebook’s end goal is to be the first and only place an Internet user needs to go when they log onto their computer. With Bing providing search results within Facebook’s own social portal, and a variety of applications and additions being made to the site and announced on a seemingly weekly basis, Facebook is doing all it can to become the end-all, be-all of the Internet.

Recently, as TMCnet has pointed out, Facebook, as it has done numerous times in the past, purchased a smaller company that it felt did a good job of meeting Internet user needs. Hot Potato, the event sharing site where users could say what they were doing, and be directed to other users who were doing the same thing, is now a part of the Facebook family. As consequence, Facebook has positioned itself even deeper into the foothold of Internet user wants and needs.
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If you own a business, chances are that you know about “Google Places” listings (formerly referred to as “Google Local”). For those of you who don’t know, Google Places allows business owners to list their business information (address, phone number, business hours, etc.) so that, in the event someone searches for the business using Google, the business information is accurate and available for viewing. In order to get this listing to rank well in search results is a topic for an entirely different conversation altogether, but it should be a primary focus of your law firm Internet marketing campaign.

Facebook, the world’s largest social networking community, has also recently ventured into the “Places” game, launching its own “Facebook Places” feature. At this point though, Facebook Places is completely different from Google Places. That is, Facebook Places is little more than a check-in service, meaning that users can access the function to tell their friends where they are at any given moment. However, if history is any indication, Facebook may eventually expand this feature, possibly to include information about specific locations that users have checked-in at. Information, such as business names, addresses, phones numbers, business hours, may soon become a part of the Facebook Places experience. Sound familiar? Sound kind of like Facebook may be positioning itself for a venture into a more Google-Places-centric endeavor? Only time will tell, but all business owners should undoubtedly keep an eye on Facebook Places for new developments in the near future.
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We’ve all heard of Twitter at this point. You may even have an account that you use to follow your favorite actor or actress, professional sports team, or maybe just your friends, co-workers, or acquaintances. But are you aware of the marketing potential that each 140-character Tweet truly has?

For law firms hoping to establish their presence on the Internet, Twitter is a good place to start. It’s easy to set up, and can be effectively used in your firm’s Internet marketing campaign if it is utilized properly. For starters, it’s important to remember that your Twitter account should not be considered the same thing as your web page. While your web page is an information source about the particular area of law that your practice, your Twitter page should be a platform where you display your legal knowledge and experience in a more personalized way. Understand?
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The ever-expanding social networking universe is becoming a much smaller place. That is, a recent announcement made by Twitter has revealed that users of the micro-blogging service will now be able to more effectively link their Twitter accounts to their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. This will lead to the establishment of a web of social networking contacts that may soon be able to fully interact with one another.

According to a article, Twitter has added both Facebook and LinkedIn to its “Find Friends” feature. However, as with any new development still in its infancy, the new feature is far from flawless. Reportedly, the Twitter-Facebook application does not allow users to access their Facebook information at this time, disallowing them from being able to discern which of their Facebook friends are on Twitter (which is what the application is supposed to allow). It should be noted, however, that the Twitter-LinkedIn application is currently working as it is supposed to – allowing LinkedIn users to see which of their LinkedIn connections also have a presence on Twitter.

Social networking began as a means for friends to communicate about a variety of topics that they all found interesting. Today, social networking is very much the same thing, and forever will be a grouping of arenas where members are allowed to express themselves. For law firms, the allure here should not be to become friends with someone in hopes that the person will soon become a client. Instead, attorneys should enter into the social networking discussion as an authority on the type of law its firm is centered-around. The point of having a presence on social networking sites is not to sell your product, but to connect with other users and establish yourself as a trusted authority on whatever type of law you may practice – whether its personal injury law, criminal defense, bankruptcy law, or business litigation.
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For anyone out there who says social network profile creation and maintenance is nothing more than a fad, look no further than Microsoft’s recent decision regarding integrating Facebook into its Outlook email information manager program. According to a recent article featured on, Microsoft’s recently updated Social Connector plug-in will allow users to connect with Facebook status updates, photo uploads, and wall posts via notification within Outlook itself. This is being done all in hopes of making Outlook more of a communication hub that users want to access on a more regular basis. This new update comes at the heels of updates already released for social networking platforms MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Reportedly, a “People Pane” window will allow Outlook users to receive real-time Facebook updates. Furthermore, the new plug-in update will also connect Outlook user contacts with Facebook profile information. It should be noted, however, that while Outlook users will be able to access Facebook profile information, the process is limited. Specifically, Outlook users are not yet able to post and update information on Facebook from the confines of Outlook.
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According to its website, “LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 70 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.” Viewed by most as an authoritative site for business professionals, lawyers can certainly join LinkedIn. In fact, they SHOULD join LinkedIn, especially if they want to establish themselves as authorities on subject matter pertinent to their law practice. How can this be accomplished? Simple – employ the same type of effective marketing techniques to your LinkedIn profile that you do in order to rank well in Google and other search engine web results. Still confused? Ultimately, it all comes down to optimization, search engine optimization, that is.

Keywords are essential in ranking well on LinkedIn. According to an article featured on, LinkedIn is essentially the same thing as Google, the primary difference being that you have to sometimes pay in order to rank well in Google, whereas LinkedIn is completely free (all you need is an email address). In addition, LinkedIn has the added benefit of being recognized as a self-promotion site for professionals, which means that it is a perfect forum for attorneys to establish themselves as credible sources of law knowledge. Factor in a question and answer section where LinkedIn members can ask for advice and/or guidance on a variety of issues, including a “Law and Legal” section, and attorneys have an opportunity to make themselves stand out in the legal world. Remember, LinkedIn is a public search directory, meaning that profiles and even Q&A topics will show up not only in LinkedIn search results, but outside search engine web results (e.g. Google) as well.
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The next time you post a picture or update your status on Facebook, stop and ask yourself who you think will be seeing it. If you answered, “My friends,” then you’d be correct. However, what you may not realize, unless you’ve customized your privacy settings lately, is that Facebook’s ever-evolving privacy policy is becoming more and more lenient as social networking rapidly grows each day. Therefore, in addition to your friends, other users may be able to view your photos and status updates as well. Factor in Facebook’s new Open Graph, and users are being publicized more than ever in many ways they may not even realize.

Facebook is notorious for adjusting user privacy settings, consequently resetting personal profile settings in the process. What this has meant for users is that, all of a sudden, their profile privacy settings have essentially been lifted, allowing non-friends to view content on their profiles. In order to restore previous privacy settings, Facebook users must go into their settings and specify the degree of privacy they would prefer. This has been the case time and time again, with many users complaining about the setting changes, but ultimately complying with the changes and simply going with the flow.

If Facebook was content with its current position as a popular social networking site, users wouldn’t have anything else to worry about other than adjusting their settings every few months. However, as the world’s largest social network, Facebook is constantly looking for ways to attract users and expand its market share. After a partnership was struck with Microsoft late last year, Facebook has branched out into local search, but doing so in an all encompassing way that is sure to alter the landscape of social networking and search for years to come. That is, Facebook recently announced the creation of its Open Graph, which attempts to blanket a user’s internet experience under Facebook’s social networking portal.
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